For part of her challenge, Lori Youngs decides to buy Wal-Mart gift cards for strangers. She takes $200 of her challenge money and buys $5 gift cards to hand out on the street. Included with the card, Lori gives the recipients a poem written by her daughter:
Good ideas inspire more good ideas
Thoughtfulness inspires more good thoughtfulness
Love inspires more love
I hope this notion inspires on in you
Do not ask what you may do in return
Pay it forward
Lori has $800 left to spend. Her sister suggests giving it to the pastor of a small church. The idea clicks for Lori whose own father was a pastor. "I just remember growing up—there were six of us—and whenever a bill was due and we didn't have the money for it, my dad just prayed, and a miracle always came through."
So Lori calls Matt, a local pastor who is married with three preschool daughters and works at a grocery store. Recently, Matt's fourth child, Alea Grace, died within hours of her birth. Lori decides to help the family. She buys toys, books, diapers and dresses for the girls and a digital camera for the parents. She also gives them a Christmas ornament engraved with a remembrance for Alea Grace.
"I am blessed," Lori says after delivering the gifts to the family. "I have not suffered the loss of a child. I cannot imagine that pain. This has linked us together. I can now call [Matt's] family my friends—and that is a wonderful feeling. You can never have too many friends!"